I was once terrified of Bollywood: Hrithik Roshan
With his much-anticipated movie Kites about to be released in India, Bollywood heartthrob Hrithik Roshan discusses his entry into the glamour industry, offers career advice to youngsters and tells us about a few of his favourite things.
As a teenager, what did you want to do with your life?
As a teenager I was lost, afraid of different choices. At 19, I didn't know what to do with my life -- whether to take the risk of joining films or whether to take up a hotel management course in Switzerland.
I was very, very scared. I had seen my father struggle in this industry for 20 years before he finally met with success. If you fail here, there is a lot more to lose. You lose your individuality and it is really hard to pick yourself back up.
So I thought I needed a safety net. Besides hotel management, I also considered going to the US and doing a course in special effects. That way, if I failed as an actor, I would have something to fall back on.
But when the time came to leave, something was pricking me. I realised that this was a move stemming from fear; I realised that if I had the safety net, my leap would not be as strong, because I knew that I had the net to save me. So I decided not to go. I decided if I fall, I will fall hard. And if I had the safety net, I would not have the power to jump. Therefore, I took a leap of faith into this field.
Watch the video of Hrithik's interview here.
Photographs: Still from Kites
'This career is based on a lot of risk'
Can you elaborate upon the fear you felt of the film industry, which overwhelmed you as a teenager?
More than glamour and more than what meets the eye, this career is based on a lot of risk. You are there one day and you are not the next. It is a true test of your survival instinct and never-say-die attitude. It tests the potential you are born with and it tests your capabilities on a day-to-day basis.
You cannot rest for even a moment and look back -- it's an art. And if you are successful and you absorb all the fame and glory and you build up your ego, that is the other kind of failure.
So you have to be really careful. Because if you are operating out of a sense of ego, where you know how good you are and there is a kind of overconfidence, you lose yourself. Then you start mining what you are good at and the art goes out the window.
You have to be aware that this creativity is working from your heart. The moment you lose that connection with yourself, your soul and get lost in this world, it is another kind of downfall. It will start showing in your work. People will subconsciously realise that your work is not from the soul. So you have to be careful.
Photographs: Rediff Archives
'You cannot create something by being full of yourself'
Do you think that ego poses a big problem to a lot of people in Bollywood?
I think no creativity can come from the place of ego. You cannot create something by being full of yourself, by saying 'I am the best and I can do this'. You may get ahead one or two steps, but sooner or later you will fall. Creativity happens from the space of 'no mind'.
Could you elaborate?
All creativity, whether it is painting, designing or writing, comes from a place of no mind. Your mind shuts off and it is instinct that just flows out of you. To achieve that you cannot be full of yourself; you have to be connected and you have to stay grounded.
Can you tell us something about your earliest working experience as an assistant director?
It was one of my best experiences, as I learned a lot. It was the best school and the best training that one could ask for. Being an assistant to my father, I got to learn of both success and failure. Most of my foundation has been built around him. He has always taught by example. It is the best way to learn, by examples.
Photographs: Rediff Archives
'Everytime I meet a fan, it's a moment that I cherish'
Since you enjoyed and continue to enjoy working with your father so much, can you tell us which of his movies are your favourites?
Kaamchor and Aapke Deewane, for obvious reasons -- they were big films and he was superb in them.
From among your Bollywood contemporaries, which personalities do you admire the most?
I love all my seniors and contemporaries. I learned a lot from them and also my juniors. I learn from everyone. I was fortunate to watch actors like Shah Rukh, Anil Kapoor, Madhuri Dixit, Salman Khan on the sets. Being the assistant behind the camera, I learned a lot by watching them.
You've come a long way since then -- today you're one of Bollywood's leading actors. Any memorable experiences with fans that you would like to share with us?
Everytime I meet a fan, it's a moment that I cherish. I never take it for granted. I can put a smile on someone's face by just being there. When I am completely tired, signing 5,000 more autographs and posing for some 10,000 pictures, I sometimes feel like I can't go on. But I still go on to do 50 more before stopping.
Photographs: Sahil Salvi
'I indulge myself with pizzas and burgers'
Quick facts about Hrithik:
My favourite cuisine: Italian, Indian, Chinese, Thai... I am a foodaholic and there is no one particular food that I am crazy about.
My favourite drink: Water
The most frequently-played song on my iPod: Songs by U2 and Infinity, the Rocky theme. Stuff like that.
My favourite book: The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand and The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle.
My favourite holiday destination: That would be a split between Bora Bora and the Maldives.
My biggest indulgence: Like I said, I'm a foodaholic and I indulge myself with pizzas to burgers.
My idea of a perfect day: Filled with lots of work and lots of accomplishments, so by the end of the day when you go to sleep, you can say it was a day well spent.
I cannot leave home without: My phone
Click here to watch Hrithik discuss his likes and dislikes on video.
Photographs: Cover of Vogue Magazine
'I have a very bad memory and I procrastinate a lot!'
In my spare time, I enjoy: Reading and working outMy phobia: I don't really have one.
Two things you don't know about me: I have a very bad memory and I procrastinate a lot!
If I were not an actor: I would probably be fat and own a gymnasium or health store!
My favourite Bollywood movie: I don't have favourites in anything.
One movie I wish I was part of: I don't think that way, because if I was a part of that film, it never would have turned out the same way it has.
A song composed by my grandfather Roshansaab that I love the most: Songs from Taj Mahal, Jo Waada Kiya Woh Nibhaana Padega and lots of others.
Photographs: Rediff Archives